Yurts, Lighthouses, Train Cars And Caves: How Aussie Airbnb Listings Have Moved On From The 'Sharing Economy'

More than a decade since Airbnb launched and changed the face of travel, Australia's offerings are far more professionalised and are giving travellers quirky experiences to remember.

According to new research, about four percent of Australia's housing stock is (or has been) listed on Airbnb -- but this is rising at a rate of 30 percent per year.

"We are looking at some pretty astounding growth figures," Thomas Sigler, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at The University of Queensland said.

Sigler and a team of researchers from UQ and the University of Sydney analysed Australian listings on the website from 2016 to 2019.



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"What we have noticed is an increase in professionalisation -- homes that are free to stay at all year round. I think it's fair to say it's really not part of the Sharing Economy now," Sigler said.

With  almost 347,000 stays listed in this period, the researchers were able to analyse trends and reveal some surprises.

"We were surprised of the ubiquity of of Airbinb -- more than 90 percent of the areas in Australia contained at least one [listing]," Sigler said.

Image: Supplied

Up for rental grabs were 82 boats, 21 teepees, 26 yurts, 43 train cars and even two lighthouses.

You can also book a private island on the Great Barrier Reef, or a treehouse at Cape Tribulation.

Yurt Alpine Retreat, Victoria. Image: Airbnb

"I was actually surprised by how many yurts there are in Australia, given we are a long way away from Mongolia. It's just a bit of fun to offer these experiences," he said.

Almost three quarters of listing are for entire homes, one quarter are shared properties, and one percent are shared bedrooms.

The latest available data indicates 74 percent of listings are for entire homes, 26 percent are for shared properties and  1 percent are for shared bedrooms.

"I think that doesn't appeal to a lot of people, sleeping in the same room as a stranger," Sigler said.

Shared bedrooms were most likely to be found around transport hubs and in areas containing high rises, the research found.

The green dots indicate entire properties, the pink are shared properties (private room), and the blue are shared rooms on Airbnb during 2016 -2019. Image: Supplied

When it came to regional and rural areas, Sigler said while they aren't the usual beach-side destinations, there is a growing market for Airbnbs there as well.

"In regional areas it's really to compliment a lack of hotels or motels. A lot of small towns only have one hotel, and if there is a conference or event they don't have the capacity to accommodate visitors," he said.

A cave on offer in mining town Coober Pedy. Image: Airbnb

According to a 2018  Deloitte Access Economics report, Airbnb stays contribute $1.6 billion to Australia's GDP while supporting thousands of jobs and providing big savings for tourists.

"It's just going to keep growing for the next few years, but then we anticipate that to taper over time," Sigler said.



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